The Very Different Same Essays
Both Martin Luther King s I have a Dream and George Orwell s Shooting an Elephant are essays about denouncing racism through effective language manipulations, for example, figurative language and precise diction. Both essays are powerful pieces that draw reader s attention to the injustice of racism. However, the points of contrast between the two are clearly identifiable. For purpose of discussion, I will be focusing primary on the differences such as the use of figurative language, sentence structure and method of presentation, as well as tone.
Language Manipulation is one key element of a good quality essay. Although both King and Orwell show a high degree of manipulations in figurative language and sentence structure, they are, in fact, quite different. King s essay, originally a speech, is a highly persuasive and emotionally charged piece because of wide range of metaphor and biblical allusions. By using allusions, references to well known books, stories and events, he is able to present his speech smoothly providing that the audiences understand them. For examples:
a) Five score years ago, a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation of Proclamation.
b) I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
On the other hand, Orwell s essay is a narrative, where in he relates a real life experience to condemn the injustice of racism. His essay is quite abstract because of his use of the elephant as a symbol. This forces the reader to interpret the symbolism in order to understand the author s purpose.
Another major language manipulation of the two essays is the sentence structure. The most significant sentence structure manipulation in King s essay is perhaps the use of repetition. Because of the fact that his essay is presented as a speech, the use of repetition allows King to emphasize his points. For examples:
a) Now is the time to rise
Now is the time Now is the time the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brother hood.
b) Paragraph 10: I have a dream .
Paragraph 11: I have a dream .
Paragraph 12: I have a dream .
Paragraph 13: I have a dream .
Paragraph 14: I have a dream today.
Paragraph 15: I have a dream .
Paragraph 16: I have a dream glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and flesh shy see it together.
Where as Orwell presented his essay in descriptive sentences with a few digressions. He puts the reader in suspense. And only until the end of his essay, the reader then, finally, realizes his intentions.
The method of presentation and tone are different in both essays because the audience focused on is different. Martin Luther King s essay is not only focusing on the government and the white people, but moreover, the whole world. His essay is universal. His tone is optimistic. He presents the whole essay in a very simple, direct and clear way. In contrast, George Orwell focuses his audience on the Imperial British Empire. By using the elephant and the suffering of the elephant, he, ironically, reflects the weakening and corrupting British Empire. His tone is pessimistic; he abstractly shows a story to prove his point. He is indirect and unclear about his purpose.
Both Martin Luther King and George Orwell presents their purpose in arguing against the racial injustice. However, because the method used is different, they are effective to different audiences.